A couple of days ago I discovered a new behavior in Parker. While listening to Martha Berner's song "A Town Called Happiness," which has an extensive harmonica part, Parker started to howl. Not in pain, though: he stayed in the room, and even got closer to the noise, tail wagging.
Apparently this is common dog behavior, and it really does mean he's just singing along.
So I dug out my dad's old harmonica and, yes, he sang along with that, too. In the upper ranges he really put his heart into it, too.
I know the behavior came out of those ancient days when wolves roamed free and men cowered at their howls...but this is Parker, and it's freaking adorable.
Yes, I just said I was taking Parker out for a walk, but I cut it short after five minutes. Here's why:
Just as we got back home the gust front hit. Trees are now moving in ways that trees probably shouldn't. This should be a lot of fun to watch.
...but Parker is sulking. Tant pis, mon bête noir.
Update, 1:25 pm: Huh. The storm just missed us, though reports have come in of 145 km/h gusts in Elmhust and Lombard, which "looks like a war zone" according to the Tribune.
To readers who couldn't care less about my Exchange migration post, here is Parker reacting to the cleaning service's vacuums:
They're about to vacuum under my desk, which will make him a very unhappy dog for a few minutes. He'll survive.
As promised, Parker's birthday photo from yesterday:
1/250 at f/5.6, ISO-3200, 116mm
Parker turns six today:
That was then (September 2006, when he was about 11 weeks old). The "now" picture will come tomorrow.
Parker never really likes the walk up to Ribfest. It's about 5 km, and yesterday the temperature hit 33°C, making him a very hot dog. He did, however, get a few bits of ribs, and when we stopped in the Urban Pooch booth, two entire elk jerky sticks he stole from the display case.
This year's results:
- Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bistro, again my favorite;
- Itinerant Chicago BBQ, again my second-favorite;
- Corner 41, who had a good, hot vinegar sauce and fall-off-the-bone ribs (with a little too much fat, though); and
- Perennial Chicago fixture Smoke Daddy ("Ribs so good you'll slap your pappy!"), whose ribs had the smokiest flavor and also the most fat.
Smoke Daddy gave Parker a free pig's ear, so they get points for that.
All of the ribs this year fell off the bone, with no tug, which disappointed me a little. I might have to go back this evening to find some tug-off-the-bone ribs, maybe with a nice, thick tomato-based tangy sauce...yeah...
Because they improved downtown L.A. immensely:
In 1999, Los Angeles passed its Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, making it easier and cheaper for real estate developers to convert old offices to new housing. While the ordinance arguably jump-started the revitalization of downtown L.A., a key (though overlooked) element was pet-friendly policies in these newly converted lofts.
Walking dogs drove residents out of their homes and into the street at least twice each day. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, where single-family homes predominate, dog owners often have the luxury of sending Fido out to the yard to do his business. But downtown, dogs and their owners have become a crucial component of the rebounding neighborhood's culture.
Of course, if the office dog poops on the CEO's carpet, he'll still get fired.
As feared, Chicago is experiencing a weekend of perfect weather. As a consequence, Parker and I just finished an hour-and-three-quarters walk that had to include time at Noethling Park (aka "Wiggly Field"). We're recovering for a moment before heading outside again for another one.
Regular updates will resume when the crisis concludes.
(Note: Ordinarily I would have linked to the Chicago Park District's official page on one of its parks, but apparently they forgot to pay the Internet bill, so at this writing their site dead-ends at Network Solutions. Nice work, guys.)
And the office dog is doing what he does best:
Even if Parker hadn't gotten fired two weeks ago, it looks like the building would have stopped him coming in anyway. We got this email earlier today, forwarded by the landlord:
We received a complaint about one of your tenants having a dog in the building. This was discovered by persons on the 5th floor hearing barking on the 4th floor. Hopefully I'm not confusing your unit with another but per the building rules and regulations policy that's attached to the Easement and Operating Agreement, only seeing eye dogs are permitted in the building.
Some people just don't like dogs. Their lives must be so sad.